In the United Kingdom, the BBC prepared and published data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in January about different nations’ growth forecasts for 2023 and 2024. The BBC foregrounded some really bad news for the UK. Of nine major industrial economies—the G7 (the US, Canada, Japan, Germany, the UK, France, and Canada), plus Russia, and China—the UK would be the only one to suffer real economic decline: a contraction in its 2023 GDP (its total annual, national output of goods and services). So dubious a distinction for the UK followed the long political night of rule by the Conservative Party. That night’s darker moments included austerity after the severe 2008-2009 global capitalist crash, scapegoating Europe for the UK’s economic troubles, Brexit taking place during the peak of that scapegoating, enjoyment of COVID cocktail parties by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government that it prohibited for the British public, and endless, transparent, and cringeworthy lying to the public when caught and exposed.
At the zenith of the mass protests in Egypt on January 25, 2011, Twitter, Facebook and other Western-based social media platforms appeared to be the most essential tools for the Egyptian Revolution. Though some observers later contested the use of the terms ‘Twitter Revolution’ or ‘Social Media Revolution,’ one cannot deny the centrality of these platforms in the discussion around the events that attempted to redefine the power structures of Egypt. It was hardly a surprise that, on January 26, the Egyptian regime decided to block access to social media in a desperate attempt to prevent the spread of the protests.
On the last day of the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, the five founding states (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) welcomed six new members: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The BRICS partnership now encompasses 47.3 percent of the world’s population, with a combined global Gross Domestic Product (by purchasing power parity, or PPP,) of 36.4 percent. In comparison, though the G7 states (Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States) account for merely 10 percent of the world’s population, their share of the global GDP (by PPP) is 30.4 percent.
In its summit in Johannesburg, South Africa this August, BRICS invited six new members: Argentina, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The bloc now represents 37% of global GDP (measured at purchasing power parity, or PPP), as well as 40% of global oil production and roughly 1/3rd of global gas production. The inclusion of top oil producers like Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have long priced their crude in dollars, is a direct challenge to the US petrodollar system. All of the invited nations have indicated that they will officially join the extended BRICS+ bloc on 1 January 2024.
In 2003, high officials from Brazil, India, and South Africa met in Mexico to discuss their mutual interests in the trade of pharmaceutical drugs. India was and is one of the world’s largest producers of various drugs, including those used to treat HIV-AIDS; Brazil and South Africa were both in need of affordable drugs for patients infected with HIV as well as a host of other treatable ailments. But these three countries were barred from easily trading with each other because of strict intellectual property laws established by the World Trade Organisation. Just a few months prior to their meeting, the three countries formed a grouping, known as IBSA.
Early U.S. capitalism was centered in New England. After some time, the pursuit of profit led many capitalists to leave that area and move production to New York and the mid-Atlantic states. Much of New England was left with abandoned factory buildings and depressed towns evident to this day. Eventually employers moved again, abandoning New York and the mid-Atlantic for the Midwest. The same story kept repeating as capitalism’s center relocated to the Far West, the South, and the Southwest. Descriptive terms like “Rust Belt,” “deindustrialization,” and “manufacturing desert” increasingly applied to ever more portions of U.S. capitalism.
So what we were going to talk about is really the Third World debt crisis, the new Third World debt crisis. How similar and how different is it from the one that hit the Third World back in the 1980s? What has been the specific contribution, if any, of the pandemic and the war? And what is the future of the Third World, given that in addition to all the other calamities, it is now hit with this debt crisis? Now, last time we started with a list of seven questions and we only got through the first two. So let me just go through the seven questions and then we will begin with the third question. So the first question was, what was the genesis of the 1980s debt crisis?
Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen visited China. There she tried to press the worlds biggest economy on several issues. Yellen's visit failed to achieve anything. She had some talks with Chinese officials but achieved nothing. She lectured and made demands that no one in China will be willing to fulfill. The Chinese side for one seems unimpressed by her performance: Yellen mentioned multiple times the US is seeking a healthy competition with China rather than a "winner-take-all" approach. While this may sound good, the key lies in how we define "healthy competition." Is it a US-style one in which the geopolitical appetite of the US is satisfied while China unconditionally cooperates? Or is it based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation? The root cause of the challenges in the China-US relationship lies in Washington's flawed perception of China.
The contradictions of China-bashing in the United States begin with how often it is flat-out untrue. The Wall Street Journal reports that the “Chinese spy” balloon that President Joe Biden shot down with immense patriotic fanfare in February 2023 did not in fact transmit pictures or anything else to China. White House economists have been trying to excuse persistent U.S. inflation saying it is a global problem and inflation is worse elsewhere in the world. China’s inflation rate is 0.7 percent year-on-year. Financial media outlets stress how China’s GDP growth rate is lower than it used to be. China now estimates that its 2023 GDP growth will be 5 to 5.5 percent.
Join Lee Camp and Ben Norton in this captivating episode of Behind the Headlines as they delve into the changing world order, the rebellion of Latin America against Western hegemony, the ongoing proxy war in Ukraine, and the latest international political clashes. Norton, a seasoned journalist who founded Geopolitical Economy, a Nicaragua-based news website that covers international relations with a focus on Latin America, U.S. Empire, and political economy, brings a fresh perspective to the table. The conversation starts with the recent collapse of three U.S. banks and how Federal Reserve policies have fueled the class war that the wealthy elite is waging against the public.
The president of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, gave a speech acknowledging that “the tectonic plates of geopolitics are shifting faster” and “we may see the world becoming more multipolar”, with the decline of US dollar hegemony, war in Ukraine, and rise of China. “We could see more multipolarity as geopolitical tensions continue to mount”, Lagarde added. Geopolitical Economy Report editor-in-chief Ben Norton analyzed Lagarde’s speech with Radhika Desai, professor in the Department of Political Studies at the University of Manitoba and director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group.
“There is a risk, when we use financial sanctions that are linked to the role of the dollar, that, over time, it could undermine the hegemony of the dollar”, Yellen said in an April 16 interview with CNN. She also noted that Washington’s use of economic warfare “does create a desire on the part of China, of Russia, of Iran to find an alternative” to the dollar. Before serving as secretary of the Treasury, Yellen was the chair of the US central bank, the Federal Reserve. Her remarks represent a significant public acknowledgment by a top level US government official that its increasing use of sanctions has fueled the growing de-dollarization movement in the Global South.
The president of the New Development Bank (NDB), Dilma Rousseff, received the president of the Republic of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva for the inauguration ceremony at the head of the bank. This was the first activity on the official agenda of the president during his state visit to China. Lula and Rousseff held a closed-door meeting with directors of the financial institution before starting the ceremony. First to speak, Rousseff, who was one of the founders of the BRICS bank, talked about the need to expand the institution’s capacity. “It is fundamental to expand the bank’s reach and impact. On the one hand, we have expanded the number of member countries, strengthening our cooperation platform.
Michael and I thought that what we’d do today is talk about my impressions, and also weave them into a broader discussion about how the world order is changing towards multipolarity. So many things have happened. President Xi went to Russia, and President Macron went to China, and so many things are going on. So we’ll weave all of that into a broader discussion about my impressions from Russia. So what Michael and I thought we’d do is focus on two particular points that we thought were interesting that I picked up when I was in Russia is that during the whirlwind of conferences that I was at, at which some very prominent Russians spoke, the one thing that I heard that was really interesting is a decisive statement coming from some of the most influential speakers, that essentially Russia is moving away from the West and will never return.
In late February, US President Joe Biden announced that the United States had placed the nomination of Ajay Banga to be the next head of the World Bank, established in 1944. There will be no other official candidates for this job since, by convention, the US nominee is automatically selected for the post. This has been the case for the 13 previous presidents of the World Bank; the one exception was acting president Kristalina Georgieva of Bulgaria, who held the post for two months in 2019. In the official history of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), J Keith Horsefield wrote that US authorities “considered that the Bank would have to be headed by a US citizen in order to win the confidence of the banking community, and that it would be impracticable to appoint US citizens to head both the Bank and the Fund.”